The feast of Our Lady of Ransom on September 24 has been replaced in England and Wales by the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham: the connection being the idea of the ‘ransoming’ of Mary’s Dowry. Here is a lovely blogpost on Roman Miscellany about Our Lady of Ransom and the Mercedarian Order, established by Saint Peter Nolasco to free Christian captives. To this day, Mercedarians take a ‘Fourth Vow’: to give one’s life for someone in danger of losing their Christian faith through captivity. In 2011, nineteen Mercedarian friars were confirmed as martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, killed for reason of their faith.
Zurbaran painted a series of scenes from the life of the saint; below, the Virgin Mary bestows the habit of the Mercederians on the saint:
The image of Our Lady of Mercy, Mater Misericordiae, spreading her cloak over her children, is sometimes associated with Our Lady of Ransom. Here is an example by Ghirlandaio:
Prayer to Our Lady of Mercy:
Merciful Father and God of all consolation,
you have shown yourself
to be wonderful in the glorious Virgin Mary,
Mother of Christ, and have given her to us
as the Mother of Mercy.
May all of us who venerate her with devotion,
always experience her powerful intercession,
and enjoy Your immense mercy.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Ah. Today’s Old Testament Reading is from the Book of Ezra:
Ezra 5:9 For we are bondmen, and in our bondage our God hath not forsaken us, but hath extended mercy upon us before the king of the Persians, to give us life, and to set up the house of our God, and rebuild the desolations thereof, and to give us a fence in Juda and Jerusalem.